A polar insect’s tale: Observations on the life cycle of Parochlus steinenii, the only winged midge native to Antarctica
Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic islands include some of the world’s most extreme and pristine terrestrial habitats. While they are characterized by low biodiversity and terrestrial communities comprise small, often microscopic, non-charismatic species, they have become a focus of studies of adaptation and biological function in the face of multiple extreme environmental stresses (Convey and Biersma 2023). Furthermore, they are highly sensitive to climate change and are considered natural laboratories to study and understand its impacts on biota (Contador et al. 2015; (Convey and Peck 2019). In the second half of the 20th century, the maritime Antarctic experienced considerable warming (Turner et al. 2014), causing deglaciation and the development of new ice-free areas and freshwater habitats, both along the coast and inland (Nędzarek and Pociecha 2010), a process that is expected to continue (Lee et al. 2017). While theregional warming trends paused in the early 21st century (Turner et al. 2016), they are predicted to resume through the rest of the century (Bracegirdle et al. 2020), and a recent botanical study from Signy Island (South Orkney Islands) suggests this may already be happening (Cannone et al. 2022).
Authors: Contador, Tamara, Gañan, Melisa, Rendoll-Cárcamo, Javier, Maturana, Claudia S., Benítez, Hugo, Kennedy, James, Rozzi, Ricardo, Convey, Peter ORCID record for Peter Convey